Of course, the 50th Anniversary isn’t just a one-day party. Disney World is commemorating this historic milestone for 18-months, which means the odds are high that your next trip will take place during this celebration! If that’s the case, keep on reading so you can learn how to make the most of your 50th Anniversary Celebration vacation!
General 50th Anniversary Advice
1. Know when the 50th Anniversary ends
Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration didn’t just take place on October 1st! That was just the start of an eighteen-month-long celebration that runs through April 2023!
That gives you a TON of time to plan your 50th Anniversary vacation!
2. Know where the 50th PhotoPass Magic Shot locations are in the parks
There are a number of locations around Disney World where you can capture magical moments with the help of PhotoPass Cast Members. These “Magic Shots“ can be found in the four theme parks throughout the year, but there are special ones for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!
Be on the lookout for these PhotoPass Cast Members as you make your way through the parks!
3. Know ahead of time where to find the Fab 50 Golden Character Statues
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, Fab 50 Golden Character Statues were installed in all four theme parks! These beautiful statues feature some of our favorite characters like Mickey, Minnie, Figment, Orange Bird, Stitch, and much more!
There are thirty statues in total representing these fifty characters — be on the lookout next time you’re in the theme parks!
4. Don’t miss out on a photo with Mickey in his EARidescent outfit
Mickey Mouse himself has a new outfit just for the 50th Anniversary Celebration! This EARidescent look can be spotted in the daytime cavalcade in Magic Kingdom (more on that in a moment).
Soon, you’ll also be able to take a socially distanced selfie with Mickey in his EARidescent outfit at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom.
5. If you wanna be a true “history buff” on your trip, ride opening day attractions!
Disney World still has many of its opening day rides and attractions in operation to this day! Rides like “it’s a small world” and attractions like Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room are great ways to tap into your inner history buff.
Don’t forget to stop by Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground during your stay — they all opened with Magic Kingdom in 1971!
6. 50th Anniversary Tour can add a lot of personalized magic to your trip
If you want to add some special magic to your 50th Anniversary vacation, you may do so by booking a private VIP tour.
These tours will only be around for a limited time, so be sure to book if you are interested! Note that these tours are only available to guests above the age of 12 and groups are capped at parties of six.
7. Swap out your Annual Pass for a special edition 50th design
If you’re a Disney World Annual Passholder, then you’ll want to listen up for this next bit of advice! Did you know there’s a FREE upgrade for the 50th Anniversary Celebration?
Stop by Guest Relations and ask about the new 50th Anniversary Annual Passholder card, yes, free of charge!
Hotel Accommodations Advice
8. Make sure you pick the right hotel
As with any Disney World vacation, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right hotel. If you’re staying on Disney World property, make sure you consider factors like price, location on property, and amenities.
We’ve written a TON about the pros and cons of the many resort hotels around Disney World, so be sure to do your research ahead of time before booking!
9. Don’t forget about Disney World’s newest “hotel”
Don’t forget that Disney World will add a NEW hotel in 2022! Well, sorta. Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser is set to open on March 1st, 2022. This immersive two-night experience sounds truly out-of-this-world…but remember, this isn’t a traditional hotel!
A two-night stay aboard Galactic Starcruiser (you MUST book 2 nights, no more, no less) includes a jam-packed itinerary that doesn’t really allow for any activities outside of the “Halcyon,” so if you want to, say, visit Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to book your Galactic Starcruiser experience at the beginning, middle, or end of your Disney World vacation.
10. Don’t forget about your newest planning assistant in your hotel
There’s a new bit of technology coming to Disney World hotel rooms in 2022! “Hey, Disney!“ uses Alexa and Echo tech from Amazon to deliver a personalized assistant right in your room!
You can chat with Hey, Disney! about all sorts of things from Disney trivia to important planning information like when the next bus will arrive at your hotel. We’ll be on the lookout for more information regarding Hey, Disney! and we’ll keep you updated as this service arrives.
Rides, Attractions, and Entertainment Advice
11. Be on the lookout for NEW rides opening!
A lot of exciting openings are on the horizon at Disney World, including the opening of two new thrill rides: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, which was confirmed to open sometimes in 2022. There’s also TRON Lightcycle Run that’s expected to open in Magic Kingdom (We don’t have a set timeline yet.)!
Depending on how early in the 50th Anniversary Celebration you visit, you may need to visit AGAIN if you want to check out these new rides!
12. Know where to stand for the NEW fireworks shows
Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration brought with it two new fireworks spectaculars: Disney Enchantment in Magic Kingdom and Harmonious in EPCOT! As with any fireworks show, some views are going to be better than others!
For Disney Enchantment, standing a bit further back on Main Street, U.S.A. is great because of the projections!
For Harmonious, you can find great views around World Showcase, particularly in World Showcase Plaza, the Italy Pavilion, the Japan Pavilion, and the Norway and U.K. Pavilions (the last two are great as long as you don’t mind getting a good view of the middle ring projections!).
13. You don’t need to camp out very early for Harmonious
Like Illuminations and EPCOT Forever, you can grab a good spot close to show time around World Showcase Lagoon for Harmonious.
If the fireworks are your main priority, you can really get a good view from all around World Showcase. So, don’t worry about grabbing a spot hours before the start of the show!
14. Don’t miss Disney KiteTails
There’s also a new daytime show called Disney KiteTails in Disney’s Animal Kingdom! This show takes place throughout the day at Discovery River Amphitheater.
This show is fun for the whole family and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!
15. Know where to spot the new 50th Anniversary daytime cavalcade
Remember a moment ago when we mentioned you can spot Mickey’s EARidescent outfit at the new daytime cavalcade in Magic Kingdom? The cavalcade is called Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade!
The cavalcade features Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale, all dressed in their new EARidescent outfits!
16. Do NOT miss out on the Beacons of Magic
One of the highlights for our entire team when it comes to the 50th Anniversary Celebration are the four “Beacons of Magic.“ Each night, the four park icons come to life in a brilliant new lighting display. Spaceship Earth’s transformation is simply gorgeous!
Each Beacon of Magic has a little “show” as the lights come on — it plays continuously throughout the night, so there’s no pressure to be at the icons at any specific time each night.
17. Plan ahead for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure virtual queue system
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the newest ride to open in Disney World, is currently using a virtual queue system, and until Genie+ launches, it’ll be the only way you can experience the attraction.
This is the same virtual queue system used over at Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios — but remember this popular Galaxy’s Edge attraction has switched over to a traditional standby queue!
18. Don’t miss the new addition to the Electrical Water Pageant!
If you’re a fan of the Electrical Water Pageant, then you’ll definitely want to take notes on this next bit of advice. A new 50th Anniversary scene was added to the Pageant!
You can catch the Electrical Water Pageant from the resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are the best places to catch it), before and after Disney Enchantment!
19. Don’t miss your 60-day Advance Dining Reservation window
We recommend you book your Advance Dining Reservations 60 days out prior to your arrival — this is the earliest you can do so, and it’s super important for those hard-to-get reservations!
20. Rope drop certain popular restaurants!
Can’t get a reservation at those popular restaurants? All is not lost! Both Space 220 and Steakhouse 71 have lounges that are seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. If Space 220 is a must-do on your trip, head over there right at rope drop!
Remember that EPCOT’s other new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, currently does not accept Advance Dining Reservations. If you want to dine there, head over early to grab a table!
21. Mobile Order your food ahead of time
Mobile Order has become a popular method of getting your counter service food at Disney World, and recently it’s also how you can purchase select snacks from candy shops around the parks and Disney Springs!
Due to its rise in popularity, Mobile Order return windows can vanish early. We recommend ordering food at least one hour prior to when you’re planning on eating just to make sure you get your food in a timely manner!
22. Get food at non-peak hours
Another Mobile Order tip would be to select non-peak hours to eat lunch and dinner. Aim for a late lunch around 2PM, or an early dinner before 6PM.
That way, it may be a little easier to get your food when you want to eat!
23. Don’t make Dining Reservations for every single meal
It may be tempting to book all of the Advance Dining Reservations you can think of, but you might be better off leaving a few afternoons and evenings free to snack your way around the parks and resorts!
There are TONS of brand-new, limited-time 50th Anniversary goodies, and you don’t want to fill yourself up on a cheeseburger you can get anywhere else!
24. Look up where you can find 50th Anniversary snacks
Speaking of 50th Anniversary treats, it’s important before your trip to familiarize yourself with exactly where you can find these snacks.
There are a whopping 150 (!!) new treats around the parks and resorts, and you’re likely not going to remember where they all are. So read our list of where these snacks are located and pick your top favorites!
25. Don’t forget about 50th Anniversary snacks in Disney Springs
The theme parks are clearly going to be full of specialty 50th Anniversary snacks (especially Magic Kingdom), but don’t sleep on Disney Springs!
The shopping and dining district is also full of specialty snacks you can ONLY find there, so carve some time out on your next vacation to try them out!
Click here to check out one of the most STUNNING 50th Anniversary treats, located at Disney Springs!
26. Resort hop if you have time.
Disney Springs isn’t the only non-theme park location that features specialty 50th Anniversary snacks. The resort hotels also have an exclusive selection of snacks and new menu items!
If you have time on your next vacation, consider booking a Dining Reservation at one of your favorite resort restaurants. On your way out, grab a 50th Anniversary treat!
27. Read our reviews & rankings for the 50th Anniversary snacks!
No matter where your Disney World vacation brings you, you’ll likely be able to grab a 50th Anniversary snack or two (or several…) depending on what your preferences are!
Read all of our reviews to hear our thoughts on these specialty treats! From there, you can make an informed decision on what you’ll want to spend your snack dollars on.
28. Get reservations for new & limited-time dining offerings
The 50th Anniversary Celebration isn’t all about cupcakes! Disney World’s restaurants also have brand new offerings…and even some brand-new restaurants! Just at Disney’s Contemporary Resort alone, The Wave was transformed to Steakhouse 71, and California Grill has introduced a new three-course prix-fixe menu!
Be sure to look into both of these unique 50th Anniversary Celebration dining experiences if you want your vacation to be filled with limited-time offerings and festive activities!
29. Research table service restaurants that have 50th Anniversary menu items
A number of table service restaurants around Disney World have added new menu items for the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
Go back and double-check the list of new 50th Anniversary food and drink items to see which restaurants you may want to visit on your next trip.
30. Decide if fireworks packages or dessert parties are worth it & book ahead!
Disney World has also brought back its fireworks dining packages and dessert parties in time for the 50th Anniversary. This time around, there are three dessert parties in Magic Kingdom for Disney Enchantment, and there are two dining packages for Harmonious at EPCOT.
These are great ways to give you guaranteed preferred fireworks viewing while also getting to dine on some yummy food! These packages and parties are usually a little pricey, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before booking.
31. Pack hand wipes
Trust us on this next bit of advice. A common theme amongst the 50th Anniversary snacks are, well…they’re a lot of blue and purple food dye. Like, enough to turn your hands blue and purple (it happened to us, and it’ll happen to you if you go too hard on the EARidescent treats).
Be sure to pack hand wipes or take trips to the restroom to wash your hands as you make your way through Disney World’s 50th Anniversary treats!
32. Rope drop limited-edition merchandise you know you want
Let’s talk now about all things merchandise! Disney really went all-out on the 50th Anniversary merchandise, which spans several unique collections and includes literally hundreds of new collectables.
Some of these items are selling like hot cakes, so if there’s a 50th Anniversary merchandise item you KNOW you want, you may want to consider rope dropping the gift shop instead of a ride in order to secure your purchase. Or try looking at World of Disney in Disney Springs and other locations that might not be as busy!
33. Research 50th Anniversary merchandise collections ahead of time
Just like the snacks, it’s important to take a look through all of the 50th Anniversary merchandise collections and decide ahead of time what you want to purchase.
That way, you can budget more wisely and be able to limit your spending to those few essential items, rather than going in not knowing what’s available and grabbing everything in sight (it may still be tempting to do so even with all that research!).
34. Look online to see if there are any sales
Some of the 50th Anniversary merchandise is available online as well!
The benefit here is that you can buy your items ahead of time (or after you return home) without having to worry about fighting crowds, plus you may be able to score a sale in the process!
35. Look up where in the parks and resorts you can shop for 50th Anniversary merchandise
Once again, you should treat 50th Anniversary merchandise the same way as the 50th Anniversary snacks — do your research ahead of time and know what you want to buy and, perhaps more importantly, where you can buy said item.
In most cases, you’ll find the general 50th Anniversary merchandise at each of the big “flagship” stores in the parks (think Emporium in Magic Kingdom, Creations Shop at EPCOT, World of Disney in Disney Springs, etc.).
General Disney World Advice
36. Get familiar with My Disney Experience & all that it can do to make your planning easier
My Disney Experience is an indispensable planning tool you’ll likely use many, many times during your Disney World vacation. In fact, My Disney Experience’s utility will become apparent well before your vacation even starts.
Be sure to take the time to download and familiarize yourself with the app before you leave home and head to Disney World!
37. Know about the new Cast Compliments feature in My Disney Experience
Speaking of My Disney Experience, there’s a NEW feature that debut at the start of the 50th Anniversary Celebration we wanted to fill you in on.
There’s a new feature that allows guests to recognize Cast Members who went above and beyond to make your vacation truly magical, or if you just want to send Cast Members a little bit of magic their way!
38. Get ready for Disney Genie and Genie+
Something BIG is coming to Disney World soon, and it’s called Disney Genie. This complimentary planning tool located within My Disney Experience will be joined by Genie+, the new PAID service that’s replacing FastPass.
There’s a LOT to take in and research when it comes to Genie+, so be sure to read up on everything we’ve written to decide if it’s right for you. Also, keep in mind that Select Individual Attractions will cost extra to access their “Lightning Lanes” (the new phrase for FastPass lanes) even if you purchase Genie+.
39. Don’t forget about MagicBand+
These highly interactive MagicBands will come with new technological features! Be on the lookout for more updates as we learn more about this updated accessory!
40. Have a plan for the BIG change coming to airport transportation
One of the changes taking place during the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be a big change to guests who fly in and out of Orlando International Airport. Disney’s Magical Express will no longer be around starting in January of 2022, and it will be replaced by Mears Connect, a new paid bus transportation service.
It’s very important you have a plan in place for how you’re getting to and from the airport. If you know you’re going to use Mears Connect, book ahead of time!
Click here to read more about the NEW bus transportation service that will replace Disney’s Magical Express
41. Take advantage of extended park hours where eligible
Extra Magic Hours as we used to know them are a thing of the past, and it has been replaced by new morning and evening extended hours. Early Theme Park Entry is offered to all Disney World Resort hotel guests, giving them access to the parks 30 minutes prior to the park’s posted opening time each day.
Extended evening park hours, on the other hand, are only offered to guests staying at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts and takes place on select nights where one park remains open for 2 additional hours for eligible guests.
Click here to learn more about who is eligible for extended evening theme park hours at Disney World
42. Don’t forget about Park Hopping rules
Park Hopping changed significantly at Disney World in 2021, and these changes are carrying through Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, it’s important to note that you CANNOT Hop to a second park until 2PM each day.
In order to hop at 2PM, you must first scan into the park for which you have a confirmed Park Pass Reservation.
43. Book your Park Pass Reservations well in advance
Speaking of Park Pass Reservations, it’s important to make sure you book those reservations in advance — ideally, as early as possible (like, the moment after you purchase your tickets!).
Even if you’re traveling during a slower season, a lot of guests may be looking to visit Disney World during its 50th Anniversary Celebration. Dates can fill up, and you don’t want to be blocked out from visiting a park!
44. Get the DFB guide book for all your vacation planning information!
Of course, you can review ALL of these tips and more when you purchase our Guide Book! It’s full of useful information on planning the perfect 50th Anniversary Celebration vacation.
Seriously — check these guide books out!
45. Know what still has yet to return or reopen in Disney World
While most of Disney World is up and running as of this writing, there are still a few select hotels, restaurants, and attractions that are not available as of this writing.
Be sure to check our post below for an updated list on the current locations around Disney World that are still closed so you can plan accordingly!
46. Stay up-to-date on current face mask guidelines & other health measurements
As always, it’s important to stay in-the-know on Disney World’s current face mask guidelines and other health measurements. As of this writing, face masks are required indoors as well as on Disney World transportation, regardless of vaccination status.
If you’re planning a vacation to Disney World during the 50th Anniversary Celebration, be sure to pack face masks!
47. Keep an eye on Disney’s calendar for other events that coincide with the 50th
The 50th Anniversary Celebration lasts for eighteen months! That means the Celebration will coincide with other events throughout the year that typically draw big crowds, like Christmas or summer break.
As more travelers feel safe returning to their favorite vacation destinations, it can start to feel more and more crowded. No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to pack your patience!
48. Consider upgrading to an Annual Pass if you plan on visiting enough times
If you plan on visiting Disney World multiple times during the 50th Anniversary Celebration, it may be worth considering upgrading your ticket to an Annual Pass.
Only one person in your family needs an Annual Pass in order to take advantage of the discounts offered to Passholders. If the numbers add up and you wind up spending less on a Pass than single or multi-day tickets, it may be worth the upgrade!
49. Make sure your phone is fully charged
It’s important to make sure your smartphone is fully charged, but with all of the upgrades to My Disney Experience (not to mention more features that have us relying on our phones more and more, like MagicMobile and Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist), you’ll want to make sure you have a portable charger handy.
The last thing you need on your trip during Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration is to have your phone die in the middle of the afternoon and you no longer have access to your ticket!
50. Soak it all in; you’re visiting during a very historic time for Disney World!
It seems cliché, but a trip to Disney World can truly be a magical experience for you and your family. And a celebration as big as the 50th Anniversary may not come around, well, until Disney World turns 100!
If you book a trip to Disney World during this celebration, you’ll truly be taking part in an important piece of Disney history!
We hope these 50 pieces of advice were helpful in you planning your upcoming trip to Disney World during the 50th Anniversary Celebration! The party lasts all the way until April 2023, and Disney World could see quite a few changes between now and then! As always, be sure to follow along as we bring you the latest news and updates from around Disney World, as well as tips to make sure your 50th Anniversary Celebration trip is the most memorable one yet!